Variety of tools helps call-center reps answer HR queries

An HR outsourcer's internal call-center reps use a dedicated client/server application as well as Notes-based workflow tools to handle queries phoned in by customers.

Although they are able to access their company's public Web site just like their clients, human resources outsourcer Hewitt Associates' internal call-center reps are also outfitted with a variety of additional software tools to help them answer complex questions phoned in by customers. As a launchpad for accessing these tools, the reps use the Benefit Center Desktop. Developed internally using IBM VisualAge for Smalltalk, the Benefit Center Desktop integrates Netscape Navigator.

To view the full gamut of documents stored in Hewitt's mainframe-based document database, the reps rely on a client component known as Imaging Through VisualInfo, co-built by Hewitt and IBM Global Services. Hewitt is running IBM Content Manager, the server component of this application, on an IBM zSeries mainframe running zOS and CICS Transaction Server.

The Hewitt call-center reps use a dedicated client/server application to inquire about participant data, as well as to execute and track transactions for benefit recipients. Hewitt built the application in-house using VisualAge for Smalltalk. The desktop server component is known as Participant Services Administer Workstation, while the mainframe-based server component is known as TBA Server Application.

The call-center reps also work with internally developed Notes-based workflow tools, which access a workflow application that runs on Windows NT-based Domino servers on Compaq Proliant 6400 hardware. The Notes application lets reps check on the current status of a case, monitor and automate the assignment of work to resolve the case, and, through back-end integration with Content Manager, call up images of scanned-in documents.

Meanwhile, Hewitt is implementing Aspect Communications' Aspect eWorkforce Management application for overall management of call-center activities. Running mainly on Windows NT-based Compaq Proliant 6400 servers and NT clients, the eWorkforce Management software also uses an Oracle database running Sun Enterprise 4000 servers and Sun Solaris.

Core functions of eWorkforce Management include scheduling, call tracking, and call volume forecasting. Hewitt, though, has also deployed two optional advanced modules: Real Time Adherence, for linking real-time call-center data with scheduling information and eSchedule Planner, which lets reps and managers view schedules, request schedule changes, and get quick, automated responses to schedule requests while they're working in other applications.